The “Spoon” Theory

How many spoons do you have today?

And what is the Spoon thing anyway?

Last week a friend (who also lives with depression) clued me into the “Spoon Theory”. It is an idea from the creative mind of Christine Miserandino. Her web site is She named it that because doctors kept telling her “But you don’t look sick.”

“I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.”
~Christine Miserandino

The “Spoons” came to her during dinner with a friend when she was trying to explain how it felt to live with lupus. She gathered all the spoons she could lay her hands on and put them in front of her friend. She then said a healthy person wakes up with an unlimited amount of spoons (energy) and that a person living with a chronic condition wakes up with just so many spoons. And that for the person with the chronic condition everything costs a spoon.

“Everything” being:

waking up,
taking a shower,
walking into work from the parking lot,
attending a meeting at work,
going to lunch ….

These are daily routines a healthy person doesn’t have to think about. Living with depression, I have to think about them or I “run out of spoons” before the day is even half over. She also said there are ways to get more spoons.

I started to think about getting more spoons and in the last two weeks I found I could get another spoon taking Frankie (our dog) for a walk in the woods or driving the car or laying down for 30 minutes – to name three. What could you do to get more spoons?

Because of using the Spoon Theory I feel a lot less shame at not being able to do what healthy people can do. It also gave me a way to better tell what I CAN do. And, it’s fun and I feel more relaxed and less anxious.

In the morning I ask my self “How many spoons do I have?”. The range, for me (so far), is from 12 to 6. On a “12” day I can do a lot. On a “6” day – not so much. Right now how many spoons do you have, dear reader?

During the day I ask “How many spoons do I have?”. When the number gets to two I am done for the day unless I walk Frankie or drive or do some other “spoon adding activity”.

It’s 10:13pm and I still have 3 spoons. Not bad for the end of the day. Enough spoons to finish this and send it out into the world so someone living with a chronic condition can better tell what she CAN do.

That is so cool.

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